By Nancy Lindsey
Patrick County public schools rank relatively high in terms of state standards, but the county ranks at the bottom in terms of the amount of local funding the school system receives, according to a report from the Virginia Education Association.
The report on required local effort (RLE) for K-12 expenditures in 2014-2015 shows that “every locality in Virginia exceeds the required match for state funds for elementary and secondary education year after year.”
Patrick County, however, ranks 134th out of 134 localities by the RLE measure.
“Virginia’s system of school funding is a shared state-local responsibility,” the VEA report stated. “In general, localities must match 45% of the costs for programs that the state deems ‘required.’ But the state’s required programs offer a bare minimum of educational opportunities, insufficient to meet community demand.”
In 2014-2015, Virginia local governments “spent a total of over $3.6 billion more than required for the state match for Standards of Quality (SOQ) programs,” the VEA said. “The range in exceeding the requirement went from a low of 6.99% in Patrick County to an overmatch of 283.97% in the town of West Point.”
Local school divisions spent over $7.15 billion in fiscal year 2014-2015 for SOQ programs, the VEA said. The amount they were required to spend to match the state contribution was $3.5 billion.
The overmatch in total dollars was $3.6 billion statewide, exceeding the required match by more than 104%.
“On average, local school divisions spent 77.46% more than needed by the match requirement,” the report stated. “Localities have had to contribute more than their fair share for many years.”
According to figures from the VEA, Patrick County’s required local effort for 2015 was $5,355,908. The county’s actual local expenditures for operations totaled $5,730,158, leaving actual local expenditures for operations above RLE at $374,252.
Patrick County contributed lower amounts above RLE than adjoining localities in 2014-2015, the VEA said.
Carroll County contributed $6,118,150 or 96.11% above RLE to its schools, giving it a ranking of 40th in the commonwealth.
The following contributions above RLE were reported by the VEA for other neighboring localities: Floyd County, $1,299,448, at a percentage of 28.83% and a ranking of 117th; Franklin County, $11,180,642, at a percentage of 60.03% and a ranking of 87th; Henry County, $2,297,840, at a percentage of 21.98% and a ranking of 121st; and the city of Martinsville, $3,147,502, at a percentage of 101.48 and a ranking of 36th.